Author Topic: $400+ a month, just to get to work  (Read 7386 times)

frugalcalan

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$400+ a month, just to get to work
« on: October 24, 2012, 02:04:07 PM »
This come from a close friend of mine, after a conversation we had last night.  She works way out in the suburbs (cities don't have many jobs in her field; currently she's at a well respected company with great long-term potential), and her boyfriend works in the city.  So currently they live in the city, in the northern part so she can get to work slightly more reasonably.

But on top of the cost of their $1200 a month, 1 bedroom apartment she has to pay $200 to park.  She's from Texas, so she feels very unsafe driving small cars.  So there's $200 a month spent feeding her gas guzzler.  $400, just for gas and parking.  Add on insurance, and maintenance, and the cost of the actual vehicle, and egads, getting to work has got to be at least a quarter of her take-home pay.

She is hoping their next apartment will be closer to work (and farther away from me, sadly) so hopefully her transportation budget will go down.  But for now, it's pretty absurd.

Richard3

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2012, 05:13:31 PM »
I don't feel safe without a big **** off pile of money in my bank account. But you know, whatever works for people I guess.

zhelud

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2012, 07:33:21 AM »
I never get the people who say that they don't feel safe in small cars. I feel much safer in my teeny Honda Fit that I can easily maneuver or accelerate out of danger than in a big car that doesn't perform as well (or sits so high that I feel like we'll tip over.) And when we were rear-ended by a drunk guy in a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, nobody had even a scratch (including my 2 kids, safely buckled in the back seat.) And it wasn't just a tap, either- he was going about 25 mph according to the cop who witnessed it.

Use it up, wear it out...

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2012, 07:40:39 AM »
She's from Texas, so she feels very unsafe driving small cars. 
emphasis mine
Seems like a non-sequitur to me.

arebelspy

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 07:52:40 AM »
Point out the studies that mile for mile, small cars are safer.
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frugalcalan

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 08:00:20 AM »
She's from Texas, so she feels very unsafe driving small cars. 
emphasis mine
Seems like a non-sequitur to me.

Apparently everyone from her part of Texas drives giant vehicles; SUVs and trucks and such.  So that's all she's ever driven.  Change is always a bit scary, especially when it comes to driving around a new type of giant hunk of maneuverable metal.  Combine this with the irrational thought of "the bigger and heavier my car is, the safer I'll be in an accident" and you have a feeling of discomfort when driving small cars.

Paul der Krake

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 08:17:54 AM »
I can attest to this. I drive a very low car and have noticed some friends shifting uncomfortably in the passenger seat when driving around trucks.

zhelud

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 10:04:08 AM »
http://www.gladwell.com/2004/2004_01_12_a_suv.html

"The benefits of being nimble—of being in an automobile that's capable of staying out of trouble—are in many cases greater than the benefits of being big."

But, by all means, everybody continue buying big cars if they want to- it hardly makes a difference to me, since most of the time I'm on a bike anyway, and even a teeny car can kill me.


Jack

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2012, 11:45:26 AM »
What kind of fucked-up place does she work that's way out in the suburbs, yet costs $200/month to park at?!

frugalcalan

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2012, 12:03:14 PM »
What kind of fucked-up place does she work that's way out in the suburbs, yet costs $200/month to park at?!

That's what it costs to park at home :p

Paul der Krake

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2012, 12:13:10 PM »
http://www.gladwell.com/2004/2004_01_12_a_suv.html

"The benefits of being nimble—of being in an automobile that's capable of staying out of trouble—are in many cases greater than the benefits of being big."

But, by all means, everybody continue buying big cars if they want to- it hardly makes a difference to me, since most of the time I'm on a bike anyway, and even a teeny car can kill me.
Holy crap. Fascinating article.

TomTX

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2012, 06:11:56 AM »
That's pretty darn crazy.

Bakari

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2012, 04:40:31 PM »
I'm surprised so many people are surprised that so many people believe big car = safe.
That's a super common myth!

In no small part to the "safety" ratings which are based on crash tests.  They don't factor "likelihood of avoiding a crash" at all.  Only surviving one once it occurs.  And they focus primarily on head-on collisions, too, which is the one case where mass matters the most.  As zhelud found out, mass doesn't really matter in rear-end collisions.  It doesn't really matter in side-impact collisions either.  And it doesn't matter at all in roll-overs, which are more likely in trucks and SUVs. 

Stopping distance is directly related to vehicle weight, which means that you are more likely to get into a crash in the first place in a bigger vehicle.  But then, people's feelings of safety have very little to do with what actually makes them safe

Self-employed-swami

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2012, 09:33:56 AM »
It costs me $400/month to get to work as well, but I work 1100km away from my house, and I only drive there and back once a month!

tooqk4u22

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2012, 11:25:29 AM »
I'm surprised so many people are surprised that so many people believe big car = safe.
That's a super common myth!

In no small part to the "safety" ratings which are based on crash tests.  They don't factor "likelihood of avoiding a crash" at all.  Only surviving one once it occurs.  And they focus primarily on head-on collisions, too, which is the one case where mass matters the most.  As zhelud found out, mass doesn't really matter in rear-end collisions.  It doesn't really matter in side-impact collisions either.  And it doesn't matter at all in roll-overs, which are more likely in trucks and SUVs. 

Stopping distance is directly related to vehicle weight, which means that you are more likely to get into a crash in the first place in a bigger vehicle.  But then, people's feelings of safety have very little to do with what actually makes them safe

Mass matters in all accidents - doesn't matter which direction they are coming from.  Stopping distance is directly related to weight but also to the coeffcient of friction (tires with larger surface area and softer compounds and the increased weight of the vehicle can reduce stopping distances).  Also technology matters as well - ABS.

The issue with safety in small vs. large cars is really in the hands of the other driver - bottom line big vs. small then big will win which makes small cars less safe.  It is physics and stats show it.

Bakari

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2012, 02:24:43 PM »
Mass matters in all accidents - doesn't matter which direction they are coming from. 
Accidents in which a passenger car is hit by a semi-truck are fatal 0.64% of the time.
In contrast, accidents where a car rear-ends a semi-truck are fatal more than twice as often, 1.6% of the time.

http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/research-technology/analysis/rear-end-crashes.htm

Which says two things: 1) Rear-end accidents are rarely fatal regardless of size differential, and 2) the direction its coming from absolutely does matter.

It isn't the actual force of impact that does the damage, its the rate of acceleration or deceleration.  When you get hit from the rear your vehicle moves forward, and that movement absorbs most of the energy.  In fact, of the fatal accidents from being hit by a semi-truck, nearly half involved the car being struck hitting another car ahead of them.  (Which, incidentally, means the car driver was probably tailgating).  It is the impact into that car that does the damage.  Controlling for multi-vehicle accidents, it leaves only a 0.34% fatality rate for being hit by a semi.

If the mass differential of a semi-truck - 80,000lbs - vs a car - 4000lbs - is so insignificant, what do you think the impact of mass is on a rear-end collision between a 2000lb car and a 4000lb car?

As far as the risk of you hitting another car, if you are safety conscious enough to want a safe car, you should be safety conscious enough not to speed or tailgate, and if you don't do those things the risk of you rear-ending someone is practically zero.


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Stopping distance is directly related to weight but also to the coeffcient of friction (tires with larger surface area and softer compounds and the increased weight of the vehicle can reduce stopping distances).

Ford Focus, Weight 2962lbs / 60-0: 114ft
Ford Expedition, Weight 5547lbs / 60-0: 142ft
Sure, tires and ABS affect braking as well - I'm talking all other things being equal.  You can put better tires on a small car than it comes with.  Even a cheap little motorcycle, the EX250R, with its two skinny tires and no ABS, can out brake the Expedition (and most full-size trucks and SUVs) at 121ft


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bottom line big vs. small then big will win which makes small cars less safe.  It is physics and stats show it.
The stats show the smallest compact cars to have more fatalities, but they show mid size cars to have LESS fatalities than large trucks and SUVs.  Even though they weigh less.   Remember MMMs post on safety?  Remember the chart he posted?
Total Occupant fatality rates:
Midsize SUVS - 16.16
Standard pick-ups - 13.87
Full-size SUVs - 12.34
Full-size cars - 12.16
Mid-size cars - 11.49
A mid-size car weighs less than any of the other categories, yet has the least statistical risk of being involved in a fatality.

tooqk4u22

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2012, 02:47:36 PM »
Bakari

I agree with what you say and I am not one that is in the fear of small cars camp - you are talking about probabilities whereas I am talking about result even if low probable.  I am not in the fear camp because the probability is low but physics require that large trumps small in an accident, but that doesn't justify having a large cars.

Still mass matters - ok so 0.6% of trucks rear ending another vehicle end in fatalities.  The problem is that the data is misleading for the subject at hand - a large truck is sitting in traffic and idles into the back of car is still contented as an accident. Point is if you take a small, mid, large, semi and run into any side of a small car there will be a noticable difference in damage. 

Same goes for the other arguments like for your mid-size argument - there are mid size vehicles on the road than other vehicles and combined with those that are smaller it becomes increasingly likely that if you are hit it will be by a car that is the same size or less putting you on equal or better footing than the one doing the hitting.  Additionally, mid size cars historically have had significantly better safety features. 

This is the problem with statistics - they can be sliced and diced anyway you need.


sisca

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2012, 12:50:21 PM »
I am amazed at how 400 bucks a month can be a shocker for you guys.
Check out the following link from Bloomberg, to see what I mean (I am living in Norway):
http://www.bloomberg.com/slideshow/2012-08-13/highest-cheapest-gas-prices-by-country.html#slide2

Thats right, gas is 10 bucks a gallon here. No one drives gas guzzlers here, with good reason. I pay 150 % more for my gas than you do! In my view, gas is fucking free in the US!

I know, and agree with most people here, that a car is the most expensive thing you can own. Which is why most of us try to minimize it as much as possible. But gas is not the real problem with cars. It is everything else, really, because we tend to focus on the gas and forget everything else. It is not what you know that kills you, it is eveything you don't know that will finally get the job done.

twa2w

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2012, 02:13:19 PM »
A small car running into the back of a large semi is certainly likely to cause more damage than the reverse.  It is simple physics.  Driving into a semi is like driving into a brick wall.  If a semi hits a small car, the small car will be knocked forward thus lessening the severity of the total impact.  The small car hitting the semi doesn`t have the mass to move the semi thus absorbing most of the impact itself and often bouncing off it.
At least to me.
In terms of deaths per type of car, the various rates also reflect different demographics and styles of driving.  Smaller SUVs tent to be driven more aggreessively and have higher rollover stats.  Large SUVs tend to be driven by older more affluent people so not driven as agressively - also more city and less highway miles as well as sheer mass to absorb impacts.  Also are these stats-have to taken in context on how calculated- usuallly per 1000 accidents so absolutely meaningless unless you also have to look at how many miles driven and how many of these cars on the road.  If your car category has the highest death rate per 1000 accidents but has double the  vehicles onthe roand and they are driven more miles, then the accident rate may be substantially lower so the actual death rate per mile driven may be quite a bit lower than the stats would indicate.
The cunnard about small cars being more nimble and able to avoid an accident is in most cases just not true.  It would seem so but most smaller cars are not always that nimble - do some research on car tests and compare speed through slalom courses and braking distances etc - Tires make a bigger difference here I beleive

Bakari

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Re: $400+ a month, just to get to work
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2012, 10:34:27 AM »
A small car running into the back of a large semi is certainly likely to cause more damage than the reverse.  It is simple physics.  Driving into a semi is like driving into a brick wall.  If a semi hits a small car, the small car will be knocked forward thus lessening the severity of the total impact.  The small car hitting the semi doesn`t have the mass to move the semi thus absorbing most of the impact itself and often bouncing off it.
Exactly.  That's what I was trying to explain.  You perhaps did a better job.  That's why mass mostly only matters for a head-on collision, which is mainly only a risk on back country roads (high-speed and undivided)

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In terms of deaths per type of car, the various rates also reflect different demographics and styles of driving.
Absolutely.  That's why motorcycles and sports cars both have disproportionately large accident rates.  They correspond to higher rates of speeding, reckless driving, and driving while intoxicated.


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Also are these stats-have to taken in context on how calculated- usuallly per 1000 accidents so absolutely meaningless unless you also have to look at how many miles driven and how many of these cars on the road.
The stats I reposted from MMM are per vehicles on the road.  I tried to find the per mile stats, which are similar, but I couldn't find them (I have in the past). 

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The cunnard about small cars being more nimble and able to avoid an accident is in most cases just not true.  It would seem so but most smaller cars are not always that nimble - do some research on car tests and compare speed through slalom courses and braking distances etc - Tires make a bigger difference here I beleive
I posted a couple braking distances from small and large vehicles.  I know it isn't the only factor - but you can just as easily put good tires on a small vehicle and vice-versa.  If you think that isn't a factor, then why do the stats say mid-size sedans are safer than large sedans and trucks and SUVs of any size?